Hamzeh Ilkhanizadeh said "Iran’s history and culture is a solid evidence to confirm Chogan (polo) as a Persian sport, and other countries’ attempts to register it as their own will not alter the facts.”
In regard to Azerbaijan’s claim that Polo is their national team, Ilkhanizadeh remarked "this claim is wrong and not true at all.”
He noted that a country in which polo is not even played cannot hold any claims over this traditional Persian sport and explained "In the past, a kind of polo was played in a part of Karabakh in Azerbaijan which used to belong to Iran’s territory at the time, while this sport had been played in many parts of Iran way before that.”
Ilkhanizadeh said "in collaboration with the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran, we have attempted to globally register polo as an Iranian sport and hope to see the development of this traditional sport in our own country.”
"We have currently 7 polo pitches in Tehran & Alborz Province and a new pitch will soon be constructed in Isfahan,” said he. "There are about 150 polo players in Iran, but this is a very small population and we are attempting to increase the number of players in this sport field.”
Chogan (Persian for Polo) is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet. Chogan was first played in Iran at dates given from the 4th century in Persian Emperor Shapur II of the Sassanid dynasty era. From Persia, in medieval times, polo spread to other countries and it is now played around the world.